Record lake sturgeon catch from Lake Winnebago weighing 212.2 lb (96.3 kg)
More on the new record fish - "If this fish could only talk"
The 212.2 lb (96.3 kg), 84.2 in (214 cm) record fish harvested yesterday was a record not only for Lake Winnebago, but also a new sturgeon spearing record for Wisconsin. The previous record sturgeon taken by spear in the state was a 195 pound fish harvested on May 20, 1979 from Pokegama Lake in Vilas County on the Lac du Flambeau Indian Reservation. Although we have not yet aged this fish (we hope to get fin and ear bone samples from the fish to estimate its exact age), it is likely around 100 years old which means:
- This fish hatched from an egg laid by its mother approximately in the year 1910 - at that time the lake sturgeon stocks on the Great Lakes were nearly decimated from commercial overharvest, driven to such low levels between 1880 and 1910 that even after 100 years of protection, the stocks in Lake Michigan are just now beginning to show some meager signs of recovery.
- This fish would have become legal size for the Winnebago spear fishery in 1918 - the year the US entered World War I (Sturgeon harvest on the Lake Winnebago System was closed from 1915 to 1932; the first modern spear fishery on Lake Winnebago opened in the winter of 1931-32 with a 30" minimum size limit and a 5 fish per spearer season bag limit. This fish therefore was legal size for all 78 spearing seasons held since 1932.)
- This fish would have likely first spawned approximately in 1936 - the year the year President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Hoover Dam.
- This fish would have made spawning runs up the Wolf River 19 times in its life (females only spawn once every 4 years after they reach maturity at the average age of 27); would have laid a total 11.4 millions eggs in its lifetime, and produced an estimated 228 one year old lake sturgeon in its lifetime.